Forums > Off-Topic Discussion > putting in a fence

Model

modeled

Posts: 9334

San Diego, California, US

I know some of you have probably had a fence installed.  We are buying a house finally and I need to have a wooden fence put in. 

What are my options?  Cheap but solid would be nice, is there such a thing?

Jan 18 13 06:21 am Link

Photographer

Cherrystone

Posts: 36719

Columbus, Ohio, US

modeled wrote:
I know some of you have probably had a fence installed.  We are buying a house finally and I need to have a wooden fence put in. 

What are my options?  Cheap but solid would be nice, is there such a thing?

Cheap but solid is an oxymoron.
Do you want to re-do it again, or do you want it to last?

If so...cedar or redwood posts.
Use 2x6 for cross pieces, rather than 2x4
Use 4x6 for corner posts or where there is a gate
Notch the posts for the 2x's
Galvanized screws, NOT nails.

Jan 18 13 06:54 am Link

Photographer

Caradoc

Posts: 19751

Scottsdale, Arizona, US

I wouldn't put in a wooden fence. Block, yes. Brick, yes. Wood, chain-link, or wrought-iron, no.

Jan 18 13 06:57 am Link

Model

modeled

Posts: 9334

San Diego, California, US

^Thanks.  The yard is only 7k sqft, we won't be fencing but half of it.   Any idea what the price could range.  I agree we don't want a crappy fence that will need to replace.  But at the same time we only plan to live in this house a couple years as our family grows. 

Caradoc wrote:
I wouldn't put in a wooden fence. Block, yes. Brick, yes. Wood, chain-link, or wrought-iron, no.

I hear ya, but that's not going to happen.  Literally everyone in this area has wooden fences, so that's the way we'll go.  I promise we wont install a chain-link or wrought - iron. lol

Jan 18 13 07:19 am Link

Photographer

Orca Bay Images

Posts: 32234

Woodinville, Washington, US

Small Fruit Pits wrote:

Cheap but solid is an oxymoron.
Do you want to re-do it again, or do you want it to last?

If so...cedar or redwood posts.
Use 2x6 for cross pieces, rather than 2x4
Use 4x6 for corner posts or where there is a gate
Notch the posts for the 2x's
Galvanized screws, NOT nails.

+1

Jan 18 13 07:21 am Link

Photographer

Looknsee Photography

Posts: 21681

Portland, Oregon, US

modeled wrote:
I know some of you have probably had a fence installed.  We are buying a house finally and I need to have a wooden fence put in. 

What are my options?  Cheap but solid would be nice, is there such a thing?

First -- make sure you know your community's regulations -- some municipalities have crazy statutes.

Second:  What do you mean by "cheap"?  Do you mean cheap as in initial cost, or cheap as in cost of ownership over the life of the house?  Further, cost solutions are regional -- redwood fencing might be cheaper in California than it is in Florida.

I'm of the opinion that "cheap" often means creating a fence that will have to be replaced every few years, but high quality fences could last a long, long time.

You also list only two criteria:  "cheap" and "solid" -- what about aesthetics?  Using my criteria of "long lasting", a "cheap" & "solid" solution might be those chain link fences with slats woven through it.  A slat might need replacing, but that's something you can do in 30 seconds.

Other guidelines:  create good (and deep) footings, and be sure to paint both sides of the fence.  Cover the nail heads, too.

Jan 18 13 07:30 am Link

Photographer

Orca Bay Images

Posts: 32234

Woodinville, Washington, US

Looknsee Photography wrote:
Other guidelines:  create good (and deep) footings, and be sure to paint both sides of the fence.  Cover the nail heads, too.

It would be a shame to paint over redwood. Just stain/seal it.

Jan 18 13 07:32 am Link

Photographer

Cherrystone

Posts: 36719

Columbus, Ohio, US

Orca Bay Images wrote:

It would be a shame to paint over redwood. Just stain/seal it.

+100

Unless it's a short (36"-42") decorative front picket fence as found in Ozzie & Harriet or Leave it to Beaver's yard, I'd never ever paint a wood fence, not even pine.

Jan 18 13 07:48 am Link

Photographer

WR Photographics

Posts: 1396

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

modeled wrote:
I know some of you have probably had a fence installed.  We are buying a house finally and I need to have a wooden fence put in. 

What are my options?  Cheap but solid would be nice, is there such a thing?

Finally, a thread I can be of some use at. I build stuff.
Not knowing what is available to you, pressure treated wood is your best all round fence material if you want it to last, though it isn't aesthetically as nice as it could be.
It can be deck washed and then stained for appearance.
Don't buy pre made panels, fences are pretty easy. If you are using PT wood, galvanized or treated for ACQ metal is required. Non treated will rot out pretty quickly, if you are using cedar, redwood or any of the naturally resistant woods, galvanized is still required against rust.
If you want to go really inexpensive, you can use plain spruce boards, but put a two or three coats of coats of stain on prior to building. I've seen stained spruce fences last 25 years, though I live in a fairly dry climate. I presume Florida is pretty wet?
Screws are fine, and they are very fast, nails are stronger and cheaper, but they have to be hammered or gunned in, screws can be installed with a drill though an impact driver is nicer.
As far as building the thing, if you aren't familiar with construction techniques, either look around your neighborhood and see what other people have done and copy it if it looks good, or talk to the people at wherever you buy your material for advice.

Jan 18 13 10:14 am Link

Photographer

C h a r l e s D

Posts: 9304

Los Angeles, California, US

Dig holes 8 feet apart with a post hole digger.  They're not very expensive, but absolutely necessary.  Buy pressure treated 4x4s.  Buy 60 lb bags of cement or concrete, at least one for each hole.  Using a level, make sure each 4x4 is vertical.

While you're buying that, get 2x4 metal hangers, and 10 foot pressure treated 2x4s, a zillion 1 5/8 inch outdoor screws, and all the fencing you'll need.  I use redwood.  Looks good and is cheap at Home Depot. 

When the cement/concrete dries, attach the metal hangers 8 inches off the ground on both sides of the 4x4s, and again around 8 inches from the top, or where ever you want, both sides.  Cut, and attach the 2x4s.  Screw in the redwood fencing, making sure they are on the ground.  If you don't, over time, the 2x4s will sag.  Or, you can attach a vertical 2x4 from the horizontal to the ground in the middle of the 2x4s. 

I just did a fence in my backyard.  Bought 8' 4x4s, and dug 2' holes.  Took 100lbs of concrete to fill the holes with the 4x4s per hole, cause I dug them too wide, but boy they're in there for good! 

Project cost about $600.00 for 30 feet of fence.  It's pretty easy.  It's fun, and it looks great.

Jan 18 13 10:29 am Link

Model

modeled

Posts: 9334

San Diego, California, US

Thanks everyone for thorough responses...  I would love to get outside and just do it myself, by I am pretty sure my wife will want it done by a "professional."  Although I know myself and a friend and the directions from here + a youtube video could get the job done. 

is the following a reasonable deal?:

http://ocala.craigslist.org/hss/3510248014.html

Jan 18 13 01:13 pm Link

Photographer

Looknsee Photography

Posts: 21681

Portland, Oregon, US

Looknsee Photography wrote:
Other guidelines:  create good (and deep) footings, and be sure to paint both sides of the fence.  Cover the nail heads, too.

Orca Bay Images wrote:
It would be a shame to paint over redwood. Just stain/seal it.

You are right -- I really didn't mean paint.  I meant treat & seal (e.g. stain, if appropriate).

If you do water treat the wood (which I'd recommend), you need to reapply it every couple years.

Jan 18 13 01:25 pm Link

Photographer

SensualThemes

Posts: 3042

Swoyersville, Pennsylvania, US

local codes are HUGE.  You will have to tear it down if you don't do it their way.

usually 4' deep footers.  if you're doing more than a couple, rent the gas-powered hole digger.  or hire some rednecks.  aint no way I'm hand digging post holes!

Pressure treated. I like the 2x6 or 2x8 crossmember ideas

redwood/cedar are prettier.

over engineer the sections nearest the gate

if you get a pro, get a warranty.  It might look good for a season and then start to sag or sway in the wind/snow/whatever

Jan 18 13 01:30 pm Link

Photographer

Sitron Headshots

Posts: 10

Fort Myers, Florida, US

modeled wrote:
Thanks everyone for thorough responses...  I would love to get outside and just do it myself, by I am pretty sure my wife will want it done by a "professional."  Although I know myself and a friend and the directions from here + a youtube video could get the job done. 

is the following a reasonable deal?:

http://ocala.craigslist.org/hss/3510248014.html

That sounds like a pretty good deal. The ad is specific and he sounds like he knows what he's doing. I'm a few hours south of you, and just had a fence put at the front of the yard and it was ridiculously expensive. Different counties have different requirements. I needed a permit for the fence. If it's privacy you're looking for, don't go over 6 feet, or the fence needs engineered drawings and has to be hurricane proof.

Jan 18 13 01:34 pm Link

Model

Jules NYC

Posts: 16247

New York, New York, US

I love wooden fences. They are all all over here in CT.
Get a professional to do it:)
You won't regret it.

PS, so happy for you guys getting that house!!!
Yay:)

Jan 18 13 02:01 pm Link

Model

Jules NYC

Posts: 16247

New York, New York, US

WR Photographics wrote:

Finally, a thread I can be of some use at. I build stuff.
Not knowing what is available to you, pressure treated wood is your best all round fence material if you want it to last, though it isn't aesthetically as nice as it could be.
It can be deck washed and then stained for appearance.
Don't buy pre made panels, fences are pretty easy. If you are using PT wood, galvanized or treated for ACQ metal is required. Non treated will rot out pretty quickly, if you are using cedar, redwood or any of the naturally resistant woods, galvanized is still required against rust.
If you want to go really inexpensive, you can use plain spruce boards, but put a two or three coats of coats of stain on prior to building. I've seen stained spruce fences last 25 years, though I live in a fairly dry climate. I presume Florida is pretty wet?
Screws are fine, and they are very fast, nails are stronger and cheaper, but they have to be hammered or gunned in, screws can be installed with a drill though an impact driver is nicer.
As far as building the thing, if you aren't familiar with construction techniques, either look around your neighborhood and see what other people have done and copy it if it looks good, or talk to the people at wherever you buy your material for advice.

Why don't you do it for him?
lol

Jan 18 13 02:03 pm Link

Model

modeled

Posts: 9334

San Diego, California, US

Jules NYC wrote:
I love wooden fences. They are all all over here in CT.
Get a professional to do it:)
You won't regret it.

PS, so happy for you guys getting that house!!!
Yay:)

Good memory Jules!  That other house did need a fence as well!  This is actually a different house though, fully remodeled on the inside, repainted, cedar added in places, new landscaping.  The interior is really modern, so we're stoked smile.  Thanks hon.

Jan 18 13 02:13 pm Link

Model

Jules NYC

Posts: 16247

New York, New York, US

modeled wrote:

Good memory Jules!  That other house did need a fence as well!  This is actually a different house though, fully remodeled on the inside, repainted, cedar added in places, new landscaping.  The interior is really modern, so we're stoked smile.  Thanks hon.

Let's see pictures!!!!!
smilesmile
Sounds lovely

When you get around to it of course:)

Jan 18 13 02:17 pm Link

Photographer

Jerry Nemeth

Posts: 28001

Dearborn, Michigan, US

Pinups4 wrote:
local codes are HUGE.  You will have to tear it down if you don't do it their way.

usually 4' deep footers.  if you're doing more than a couple, rent the gas-powered hole digger.  or hire some rednecks.  aint no way I'm hand digging post holes!

Pressure treated. I like the 2x6 or 2x8 crossmember ideas

redwood/cedar are prettier.

over engineer the sections nearest the gate

if you get a pro, get a warranty.  It might look good for a season and then start to sag or sway in the wind/snow/whatever

The OP may not need 4' deep footers in Florida.  There is very little freezing weather in Florida.

Jan 18 13 02:22 pm Link

Photographer

Brian Diaz

Posts: 63192

Danbury, Connecticut, US

Pinups4 wrote:
usually 4' deep footers.

Someone please correct me if I am mistaken, but I thought the reason one might need to put posts so deep was to get below the frost line to avoid heaving as the water in the soil freezes.

I imagine that the frost line in Orlando is less than 4 feet deep.  wink

Jan 18 13 02:22 pm Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 38593

Portland, Oregon, US

What are opinions on using a metal base to put the 4x4 fence posts into (with the metal base sunk in concrete).

In moist places, it seems like wood set into concrete has a great tendency to rot, even if pressure treated.

Jan 18 13 02:25 pm Link

Photographer

Stanley L Moore

Posts: 1679

Houston, Texas, US

Here in Houston we usually use two or three foot deep holes.

But the most important thing is to check with your regulating bodies. My brother lives in Saint Cloud Florida just south of Orlando. The Civic Association for biz any fences except plastic white picket fences 4 feet high. Or wrought iron fences. IOW no privacy fences. Be sure you know the roles.

Jan 18 13 02:59 pm Link

Artist/Painter

ernst tischler

Posts: 15198

Cut and Shoot, Texas, US

C h a r l e s  D wrote:
Dig holes 8 feet apart with a post hole digger.  They're not very expensive, but absolutely necessary.  Buy pressure treated 4x4s.  Buy 60 lb bags of cement or concrete, at least one for each hole.  Using a level, make sure each 4x4 is vertical.

While you're buying that, get 2x4 metal hangers, and 10 foot pressure treated 2x4s, a zillion 1 5/8 inch outdoor screws, and all the fencing you'll need.  I use redwood.  Looks good and is cheap at Home Depot. 

When the cement/concrete dries, attach the metal hangers 8 inches off the ground on both sides of the 4x4s, and again around 8 inches from the top, or where ever you want, both sides.  Cut, and attach the 2x4s.  Screw in the redwood fencing, making sure they are on the ground.  If you don't, over time, the 2x4s will sag.  Or, you can attach a vertical 2x4 from the horizontal to the ground in the middle of the 2x4s. 

I just did a fence in my backyard.  Bought 8' 4x4s, and dug 2' holes.  Took 100lbs of concrete to fill the holes with the 4x4s per hole, cause I dug them too wide, but boy they're in there for good! 

Project cost about $600.00 for 30 feet of fence.  It's pretty easy.  It's fun, and it looks great.

If you are putting the posts 8 feet apart...why would you buy 10 foot long 2x4's?
Seems like a lot of waste.  Buy 8 foot 2x4's and be careful to set the posts at 8 feet.

Jan 18 13 04:14 pm Link

Photographer

WR Photographics

Posts: 1396

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

Jules NYC wrote:

Why don't you do it for him?
lol

Sure, I'd love a working vacation in Florida at this time of year.

Jan 18 13 04:18 pm Link

Photographer

Orca Bay Images

Posts: 32234

Woodinville, Washington, US

Orca Bay Images wrote:
It would be a shame to paint over redwood. Just stain/seal it.

Looknsee Photography wrote:
You are right -- I really didn't mean paint.  I meant treat & seal (e.g. stain, if appropriate).

I used to live in Eureka, California, where there are lots of old, OLD gingerbread Victorian houses made of Redwood and painted over like any other house. But those houses were built when Redwood lumber was plentiful/cheap and its visual attributes weren't appreciated as they are now.

Century-old redwood Victorian:
http://www.enlightphoto.com/webpages/cstnorth/hum-1062a.jpg

Redwood home restorations almost always get painted. Redwood fences almost never do.

Jan 18 13 05:29 pm Link

Photographer

Orca Bay Images

Posts: 32234

Woodinville, Washington, US

ernst tischler wrote:
If you are putting the posts 8 feet apart...why would you buy 10 foot long 2x4's?
Seems like a lot of waste.  Buy 8 foot 2x4's and be careful to set the posts at 8 feet.

You get longer lumber for diagonals.

Trimmed waste is never wasted. Use the scraps to make shims, spacers, stakes, etc.

Jan 18 13 05:33 pm Link

Photographer

Michael Bots

Posts: 5981

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Check with the city on what is allowed. Florida has lots of restrictions on fencing because of the Hurricane dangers as well as assorted Deed restrictions by neighbourhood.

Building permit required.

see
http://www.cityoforlando.net/permits/pd … ochure.pdf

Jan 18 13 05:37 pm Link

Artist/Painter

ernst tischler

Posts: 15198

Cut and Shoot, Texas, US

ernst tischler wrote:
If you are putting the posts 8 feet apart...why would you buy 10 foot long 2x4's?
Seems like a lot of waste.  Buy 8 foot 2x4's and be careful to set the posts at 8 feet.

Orca Bay Images wrote:
You get longer lumber for diagonals.

Trimmed waste is never wasted. Use the scraps to make shims, spacers, stakes, etc.

In the post I replied to, the 2x4's were being used for the horizontal rails the privacy pickets would be fastened to...no "diagonals" there.

Jan 18 13 07:22 pm Link

Model

modeled

Posts: 9334

San Diego, California, US

Based on the responses, I'm assuming laying down sod in the backyard is definitely a project I should tackle on my own with maybe the help of a friend?

Jan 19 13 07:12 am Link

Photographer

Vintagevista

Posts: 11050

Sun City, California, US

A 'good neighbor" layout of the fence boards is a help - especially in wind prone areas.

Instead of having a single flat set of boards on one side of the horizontal braces - you alternate boards - (overlapping) on each side of the horizontals.  The plus is that it allows some air to pass thru and greatly enhances it's ability to resist winds.  Otherwise you are building a sail that needs much better foundations and bracing.

The negative, is that privacy is a bit compromised, when you can see thru the fence a bit  - looking on the diagonal.

It's the only wood fencing design that has survived the local Santa Ana winds here in our neighborhood.  If the neighbors want a flat faced fence here - they either have to build them like Russian Tank Traps - or accept that they will be snapped off at some point and have panels flying into their neighbors homes - and that they may be on the hook for the damage they cause.

*edit* - sod is easy as hell - just don't crush your truck - It's heavy as can be - I see loads on the backs of light pickups going down the freeway that terrify me they are so overloaded

Jan 19 13 08:46 am Link

Photographer

Abbitt Photography

Posts: 11727

Oakland Acres, Iowa, US

I've installed a couple fences myself at about 1/3 the price of what professional instillation would have cost.

They pros at the lumber yards like Menards will probably advise you for free if you buy lumber from them.

As others have said, check your local ordinance for regulations and permits needed.  Check not only into height, but what kind of footings you need.  Tapped earth for example may or may not be permissible.

Jan 19 13 08:50 am Link

Photographer

GK photo

Posts: 28094

Laguna Beach, California, US

modeled wrote:
Based on the responses, I'm assuming laying down sod in the backyard is definitely a project I should tackle on my own with maybe the help of a friend?

...with a truck. laying sod is easy.

quit yammering, and get to work! tongue

Jan 19 13 08:53 am Link

Photographer

i c e c o l d

Posts: 8610

Fort Myers, Florida, US

modeled wrote:
Thanks everyone for thorough responses...  I would love to get outside and just do it myself, by I am pretty sure my wife will want it done by a "professional."  Although I know myself and a friend and the directions from here + a youtube video could get the job done. 

is the following a reasonable deal?:

http://ocala.craigslist.org/hss/3510248014.html

Though his price is in line with most contractors for labor and materials (typ Florida rates are $12-18lf for shadowbox fence.

He does not mention setting the post in concrete which is a Florida Building Code.

But he also fails to mention pulling the permit with is required in Orange County. You will also need to have a recent property survey, less than 6 months old, for the permit and to know where the actual boundaries are for the fence layout.

Plus if you are in a subdivision or deed restricted community, you will need to get HOA approval as well.

Also he fails at Florida Statue 489, when it comes to advertising, you must list your company name and license number anytime you are advertising or soliciting work. Each offense is a $2000 fine.

Ask him if he is licensed and insured first.

CL has become a haven of unlicensed contractors and handyman looking to make a few bucks at the expense of unknowing homeowners.

But there mare any different types of fencing, it depends on what you like and what materials you want to use. Wood, PVC, etc...

Jan 19 13 09:03 am Link

Photographer

i c e c o l d

Posts: 8610

Fort Myers, Florida, US

modeled wrote:
Based on the responses, I'm assuming laying down sod in the backyard is definitely a project I should tackle on my own with maybe the help of a friend?

Sod is pretty cheap now that the building boom is over, so look at some of the sod companies in town and compare their installed prices vs you and a friend doing it.

The will have 5 or 6 guys lay it in 1/2 day versus you DIY and taking 2 days. Not to mention the fireants and such that you might find in the sod! Depends on how big your lawn is and the type of sod too and how dirty you want to get.

A very small yard is fine....a big yard is fun for a few mins, then a PITA for the rest.

Jan 19 13 09:12 am Link

Photographer

C h a r l e s D

Posts: 9304

Los Angeles, California, US

ernst tischler wrote:
If you are putting the posts 8 feet apart...why would you buy 10 foot long 2x4's?
Seems like a lot of waste.  Buy 8 foot 2x4's and be careful to set the posts at 8 feet.

Because if one of the posts is 8' 1" from the next, you're screwed with 8' 2x4s.  I guess you could just try to set the posts at 7' 11." 2x4s are really, really cheap here.

Jan 19 13 10:04 am Link

Photographer

i c e c o l d

Posts: 8610

Fort Myers, Florida, US

Vintagevista wrote:
Instead of having a single flat set of boards on one side of the horizontal braces - you alternate boards - (overlapping) on each side of the horizontals.  The plus is that it allows some air to pass thru and greatly enhances it's ability to resist winds.  Otherwise you are building a sail that needs much better foundations and bracing.

The negative, is that privacy is a bit compromised, when you can see thru the fence a bit  - looking on the diagonal.

This is what is know as "shadowbox" fencing.

Jan 19 13 10:17 am Link